Turn trash into cash in South Africa

Waste challenges in South Africa brings opportunities for Norwegian companies. South Africa’s growing urban population is putting pressure on the environment in terms of waste management. Norwegian companies might have the technology to solve South Africa’s waste management problems.

The waste industry in South Africa consists mainly of waste collection and landfilling. According to Green Cape the waste economy in South Africa is estimated to be worth R15 billion (NOK8.5 billion) in 2017. However, R17 billion (NOK9.6 billion) is estimated yet to be unlocked if 100% of the waste streams could be recycled. The government is looking into innovative and alternative ways of handling waste which includes partnerships with private companies. The waste management sector is growing and it presents opportunities for Norwegian companies to bring their technology into the country.

Land and sea

The waste management landscape is changing with increased diversion of waste from landfills towards recycling and recovery. Alternative waste treatment, such as recycling or waste to energy, is a priority area for the country in order to divert waste from landfills and minimize environmental effects. Opportunities lies in recyclables such as metals, paper, glass and plastic, organics, electronic waste and construction waste. It is estimated that 65% of the waste (around 38 million tons) is recyclable and could be recovered and repurposed.

Considering the amount of plastic and other materials that go from the land and into the sea every year, opportunities also lies in the marine waste economy. In South Africa, only 177 000 out of 540,000 tons of polyolefin plastic waste were recycled last year. Many of the country’s landfills are close to capacity and very few are actively recycling. The country and its 3 surrounding oceans are in need of innovative solutions.

In need of new recycle technology

The above illustrates the potential of South Africa’s growing waste economy. The country needs to bring in new recycle technology to treat waste successfully. South Africa already have a few good systems in place so everything does not need to be built up from scratch. The country wants to move towards a more sustainable waste management model.

With a strong and rapidly growing market for green technology and services this brings for new opportunities for Norwegian businesses to turn trash into cash.

Please contact beverley.lewis@innovationnorway.no or karl.klingsheim@innovationnorway.no for more information about market opportunities within waste management in South Africa.

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